TomPN

ORIN Space Consortium - Episode 2: AEGON 2 satellite and Moondancer

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After the successful launch of the AEGON 1 satellite, the boffins over at R&D have put together a satellite-boosting upper stage. They want us to test it by launching another AEGON satellite, but this time they want it in a polar, highly elliptical orbit.

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The Rhaegal booster with the upper stage inside the fairing. The upper stage is called the Moondancer, and it is loosely based off the real-life Briz-M, in that it has a cylindrical center tank and a drop-tank around the outside that is ejected when empty.

Preparing for launch in 3... 2... 1...

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The upper stage has a substantial weight to it, but it's nothing the booster can't handle.

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Since it is going into a polar orbit, the rocket needs to turn north or south, not east. I chose south because it dumps the first stage in the ocean, rather than over land.

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Approaching booster burnout at high altitude

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The booster and fairing separate at high speed. The second-stage Bobcat engine ignites.

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The trajectory has been pushed into space and the engines shut down while the craft cruises to apoapsis. The Moondancer stage is visible now that the fairing has been ejected.

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Since it is going into a high orbit, the initial trajectory goes up quite high. It makes for a lovely shot with Kerbin in the background.

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Reigniting engines for orbital insertion.

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Shutting down the second stage and separating the satellite. This is done just before the orbital insertion is complete, to dispose of the second stage.

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Completing orbital insertion with the Moondancer upper stage. The fuel is being drawn from the tanks around the edge, leaving the central tank full until the drop-tanks are dropped.

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We have reached orbit, and the various bits and pieces on the satellite have been deployed.

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Reigniting the Moondancer stage to raise the apoapsis of the satellite.

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Instruments are reading an apoapsis of 66 million meters - about halfways between the orbit of Minmus and the edge of Kerbin's SOI.

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Ejecting the drop-tanks before commencing the next (and final) burn of the AEGON 2 mission.

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Correcting the orbital inclination to 90 degrees (initially about 87 degrees).

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Releasing the satellite from the Moondancer upper stage.

All in all, a 100% successful mission! The upper stage works exactly as designed, and can deploy satellites into high-energy orbits. This will come in useful in the future...

Hope you enjoyed the show. Feel free to leave any suggestions you might have for future missions in the comments. No spaceplanes!

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